The end of the year is an opportunity to take stock of where you are in life, personally and professionally, and to commit to changes. Maybe you want to learn a new hobby, plan a bucket list vacation or build new habits.
You might even finally decide that a job is really not for you and launch your own venture.
Right before I started my own business, a friend offered me an opportunity to move to California for a great role at his company. He also shared that he thought I was becoming "unemployable." He meant it as a compliment, knowing I was an entrepreneur at heart and wouldn't be happy continuing work for others for much longer.
If you aren't satisfied professionally, maybe time to become unemployable as well in 2020. Here are three strategies to do exactly that.
Often the most powerful force encountered when considering the entrepreneurial path is inertia. It's always tempting to avoid the effort and uncertainty of pursuing a new opportunity.
As a personal example, in 2005, I was working at a startup with leadership that was demotivating. I wasn't happy, but was staying in the job because I wanted to get a few years of consistent employment on my resume.
I may have done just that had I not gotten profound advice from a friend, Al Chase. While having lunch with him, I shared my dissatisfaction, but noted I was afraid of being labeled as a job hopper.
He listened to my story, looked me in the eye, and said, "My friend, I give you permission to leave. You have got to do what's right for you."
That advice changed my career. Though I didn't realize it at the time, Al showed me that I needed to get out of my comfort zone and proactively pursue work that would be more fulfilling. Staying would have been a waste of time.
Within a year, I had started two businesses, one of which became Acceleration Partners.
If you want to be an entrepreneur, you can't wait around for somebody else to start a business for you. It's vital to do the legwork.
Network the right way.
Once you've decided to explore the entrepreneurial avenue, your first instinct might be to open your contact list and reach out to everybody you know. You may want advice on what is the best way to proceed, or to forge potentially valuable partnerships.
That's not the best strategy. I am often contacted by people I barely know seeking, "just 15 minutes," to ask for advice or help. While many leaders enjoy helping others, most of them are wary about doing so for people they barely know, who are only connecting when they need something.
If you think you want to make a move in the future, catch up with people now when you don't need anything from them. Instead, ask if you can help them on their path; it's a great way to earn goodwill.
If you are ready to launch a venture, use your time and energy to network strategically. Think about who knows you well and will advocate for you to potential investors, clients or vendors. When you meet these contacts, be prepared to give them everything they'll need to help with targeted introductions or referrals. Don't expect them to do the work for you.
When someone in my network asks me for a specific intro and sends me a great template to forward along, I am happy to help. When they expect me do everything for them, it's a turnoff.
Consult your core values.
Your core values are the principles that are most important to you. Consciously or unconsciously, they drive the important choices you make in your life--who you spend the most time with, where you live, even where you work.
If you are thinking of jumping into entrepreneurship, but are unsure, consider if your current work serves your core values and your strengths. Then, look for opportunities more aligned with what you value most.
If you don't know your core values and how they relate to your professional life, take time to reflect. Do you end the average workday feeling drained and frustrated? When you wake up, do you dread going to the office?
If the answer to these questions is yes, there's a decent chance that your company or role doesn't align with your core values. Shifting to a situation where you work for yourself, focus on something you are professional passionate about and build something new may be more fulfilling.
It's hard to know if you're ready to start your entrepreneurial journey. But with 2020 approaching, now is as good a time as any to check your values, get out of your comfort zone and chase a new vision.